Don Graham, former assistant professor of English at Penn, died June 22 after a stroke. He was 79.
Dr. Graham was born on a cotton farm near Lucas, Texas. He earned his BA and MA degrees in English from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and then earned his PhD in American literature from the University of Texas–Austin in 1971.
After graduating, he was hired as an assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn he also taught a course on Western films, taught in CGS (now LPS) and served on the University Council’s Research Committee. In an interview with Texas Monthly magazine, Vartan Gregorian Professor of English Peter Conn, who was a friend and colleague of Dr. Graham’s at the time, said, “For several years, Don hosted a bibulously uproarious Super Bowl party that became the must-go annual event for our otherwise rather mild-mannered faculty.”
In 1976, Dr. Graham returned to UT, becoming the J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature. He was also a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and considered a top scholar of the state’s literature, film and pop culture. He is survived by his wife, Betsy Berry.